Britain and the Irish Crisis
Organisation: Communist Party of Great Britain
Author:Gordon McLennan
Collection:The British Left on Ireland
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document
Subjects: Sunningdale Agreement, 1973

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

1st July 2013

This is an useful document outlining the view of the Communist Party of Great Britain in regard to the White Paper. After noting the ‘sacred duty’ of British Communists to assist in the Irish question it offers an outline history of the conflict and forces on the island that led to Independence, partition and after. It argues that Unionism was ‘an alliance of Landlords and Businessmen’.

The leaflet very clearly aligns with NICRA and notes that:

[trade unions were drawn closer to other groups in NI that were campaigning on similar policies] and came together in 1967 to form the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, making possible the development in recent years of the great mass movement of the people of Northern Ireland which has profoundly affected the political developments in the last six years and which has an even greater role to play in the days that lie ahead.

The document does not go into detail on the split in Republicanism, but it does note that:

In Northern Ireland the actions of elitist groups, especially the bombing of civilian targets, has come under sharp criticism both from the Communist Party of Ireland as well as from the Civil Rights Association. The official wing of the IRA has also condemned these bombings while asserting the right to use arms for defensive purposes.

It is deeply critical of British government policy throughout, and in particular in relation to Bloody Sunday in 1972 and it reasserts its support for the withdrawal of British troops and ‘the ending of all British political, administrative and economic control’ which would ‘enable the people of NI, together with those of the Republic, to take the necessary steps to end the imperialist-imposed partition and establish a united Ireland, free from discrimination and sectarian strife’. However the document argues that:

… the demand for the withdrawal of British troops must be related to the other political demands which, taken together, form the basis for overcoming the present crisis.

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  • By: richotto Mon, 01 Jul 2013 08:05:38

    This party for some reason seems to be given some academic recognition and respect. Its hard to understand given their analysis on other issues. I remember talking to some (not young) party members around 1980 at their stall under the GPO and afterwards for a drink and they seemed to revel in being out on a limb in the positions they were taking. They were more hardline stalinist than any of the official communist positions at the time. They believed as genuine for example the testimonies of the accused in the showtrials in the USSR during the 1930s. They were unabashed about supporting Pol Pot and this after the Vietnamese invasion and exposure of the atrocities. Slightly less controversial, for a neuclear power station to be built at Carnsore.

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  • By: richotto Mon, 01 Jul 2013 08:15:02

    Sorry Woops! on second viewing the British and Irish Communist Orginization was the one I was referring to and not the abovementioned CPGB.

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